as they inquired of the cohanim of the house of ADONAI-Tzva'ot and the prophets, "Should we go into mourning and abstain from pleasure during the fifth month, as we have been doing for all these years?"
It was then that this message came to me from ADONAI-Tzva'ot:
"Speak to all the people of the land and to the cohanim. Tell them, 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months throughout these seventy years, were you really fasting for me? Was it for me?
Rather, when you eat and drink, it's just to please yourselves, isn't it?
Isn't this just what ADONAI proclaimed through the earlier prophets, when Yerushalayim was inhabited and prosperous, as were the cities around her; and the Negev and the Sh'felah were inhabited?'"
Then this message from ADONAI came to Z'kharyah:
"In the past ADONAI-Tzva'ot said, 'Administer true justice. Let everyone show mercy and compassion to his brother.
Don't oppress widows, orphans, foreigners or poor people. Don't plot evil against each other.'
But they wouldn't listen, they stubbornly turned their shoulder away and stopped up their ears, so that they wouldn't have to hear it.
Yes, they made their hearts as hard as a diamond, so that they wouldn't hear the Torah and the messages that ADONAI-Tzva'ot had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. This is why great anger came from ADONAI-Tzva'ot;
and it came about that just as they hadn't listened when he called, so ADONAI-Tzva'ot said, 'I won't listen when they call;
but with the power of a whirlwind I will disperse them among all the nations which they have not known.' Thus the land was left desolate after them, so that no one came or went. They had turned a pleasant land into a desert."